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“Now I’m descended.”

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"You want to refuse all that? You want to give it all up?"
The Abbas Kiarostami retrospective at MoMA this month has been prompting some interesting reflections on the work of the great Iranian filmmaker. He speaks for himself in an interview with Keith Uhlich at The House Next Door:

If, as Jean-Luc Godard is quoted as saying, “cinema begins with Griffith and ends with Kiarostami” then where does that leave us? Is this definitely the end of things? Or does this “end” signify a rebirth?

I don’t think that Godard said that. If he did say it in one place then he took it back someplace else. Of me he has said, “I only like one of Kiarostami’s films.” And in one of his recent comments he said, “Kiarostami is taking cinema down the wrong road.” At one point I was great in Godard’s eye. Now I’m descended. We shouldn’t take such comments very seriously. The films that last are determined by time. It’s not how much you sell it for or how many prizes you get or what the market says is good at the moment. It’s time.

Uhlich also delves into "Birth of Light" and "A Taste of Cherry." But what became of Day 1b?

At the Chicago Reader‘s blog, Jonathan Rosenbaum catches David Denby changing his mind over the near decade between this review and this blurb.

It’s not quite a reversal, acknowledged or otherwise, but it does suggest a changed attitude, and a welcome one, perhaps spurred along by a desire to counter Bush’s demonization of what he chooses to call "Iran." Or perhaps Denby has decided that a nonserious work of movie art can also be a philosophical quest that combines humanism with "enchanting formal play." Still, there is one strange recurring element in his account of the film: his claim that the protagonist “tries to induce strangers to help him commit suicide." This is a curious and decidedly nonhumanist description of a project he described accurately in another review. In fact, the protagonist offers to pay each stranger he meets to retrieve him from a hole in the ground if he’s still alive the next morning or to bury him if he’s dead.

Elsewhere, skimmed over from the past week: A.O. Scott at the New York Times suggests that "The radicalism of Mr. Kiarostami’s approach to narrative filmmaking may lie in just how thoroughly his films confound that basic question without slipping into abstraction."

Update: Mr. Uhlich also has an account of his visit to the MoMA’s Kiarostami media installation that finds him taking the subway to Queens with the director here.

+ Kiarostami at MoMA, Day 2: Conversing with Kiarostami (The House Next Door)
+ Kiarostami at MoMA, Day 1a: Birth of Light & Taste of Cherry (The House Next Door)
+ Denby on Kiarostami and Resnais (Chicago Reader)
+ Trips to Nowhere and Everywhere, With Iran’s Poet of the Cinema (NY Times)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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